Farmers protest road wire barriers

By Ash Witoslawski

Girgarre East residents, backed by Liberal National politicians, are worried that plans to install a centreline wire rope barrier on Midland Hwy will increase problems for trucks and farm machinery and lead to more accidents.

VicRoads identified Midland Hwy between Shepparton and Stanhope as one of the state’s top 20 highest risk rural roads, with 79 crashes resulting in 32 serious injuries and three deaths between January 2010 and February last year.

Upgrade works have already begun, with roads widened and left-hand-side flexible wire rope barriers installed.

Girgarre East residents Vic Grzesiak and Graeme Osborne said they were concerned about a plan to install a centreline wire rope barrier and believed those placed in the centre would cause more road rage incidents.

‘‘The road will not be wide enough for larger farming machinery, and dangerous for B-double trucks and milk tankers,’’ Mr Grzesiak said.

‘‘They’re creating a monster. We just hope that we’re not one of the casualties.’’

VicRoads’ safe system road infrastructure program director Bryan Sherritt is confident the project will reduce the number of head-on and run-off-the-road crashes on the section of road, and said the upgrades had been designed with local freight and farming industries in mind.

However, Mr Grzesiak believes this information is incorrect.

‘‘I have asked all of my neighbours and I haven’t met any in favour of the centreline wire rope barrier,’’ he said.

‘‘We couldn’t do anything about the wire rope barriers on the left-hand side of the road, I’m just hoping we can get in quick enough to do something about the centreline.’’

People are encouraged to speak with VicRoads representatives at the Mooroopna Lions Club Farmers’ Market on Sunday, March 18 from 9am to 1pm to discuss the works along Midland Hwy.

—Ashlea Witoslawski